Date Night Picnic

This warmer weather has people being outdoors at every opportunity.  Susan Ritts, creator of Putting on the Ritts, has some date night picnic ideas.


Serves a crowd

1 pound chicken livers
2 medium onions, chopped
3/4 cup butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
Pinch thyme, oregano and tarragon
3 tablespoons brandy
Clarified butter, to cover pate if desired

Sauté onions and garlic in 1/2 cup butter. Cook over medium heat until tender, approximately 6 minutes. Transfer onion and garlic to bowl and set aside. Melt 1/4 cup butter in skillet and sauté chicken livers until tender, 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle livers with flour and stir in thyme, oregano, tarragon, sugar, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover skillet and simmer for 2-4 minutes over very low heat. Remove bay leaf. Cool mixture. Once cool, add onions and garlic. Add brandy. In batches, puree pate in food processor until completely smooth. Once pate is pureed, spoon into a crock and cover with clarified butter (if using). Cover crock and refrigerate until serving – at least 24 hours.


Serves 2

This is my version of the delicious tuna salad with cranberries from Whole Foods.

2 cans white meat tuna in pouches or cans, drained (or 2 fresh tuna steaks, cooked through and cooled)
1/2 to 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries (the reduced sugar version is the best) – more if desired.
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1  tablespoon CGD or olive oil

Mix all ingredients. Chill until an hour before serving. Serve as an appetizer with crackers, or with rolls or bread for sandwiches.


Serves 2

You may never eat canned tuna again.

1 fresh tuna steak
1 cup (or more) light mayonnaise
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 tablespoons wasabi powder
Salt & pepper
CGD Seasoned Olive Oil or plain Olive oil
1/2 cup capers, optional

Drizzle olive oil over tuna steak and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Either broil tuna until cooked through or cook in hot cast iron ridged pan on stove top. Cook 4-5 minutes, turn tuna and cook another 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Cool completely. Flake tuna with fork and add all ingredients. Gently mix together until combined. Serve immediately or chill.


Serves a crowd

Assorted vegetables – I use yellow and red peppers, green beans, onions, small potatoes
Assorted Cheese – I use goat cheese and sharp cheddar
Almonds (or other nuts)

Broil or pan-sear green beans and onions with CGD seasoned olive oil until tender. Cut peppers into long, line pieces. Cut cheddar cheese into bite-sized pieces.

Arrange all ingredients on a platter, in a circular pattern (or any other pattern desired).


Serves a crowd

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup crushed almonds (optional)
4-6 chocolate bars (I use Hershey’s)
Sea Salt – seasoned or plain (optional)

Spread 1/2 cup crushed almonds (if using) on a cookie sheet and set aside. In heavy saucepan, heat first 4 ingredients over medium-high heat – stirring constantly – until bubbly. This should be cooked for about 8-10 minutes, until the color is a dark caramelized color and it is smoking a bit. DO NOT undercook as it will not harden, but don’t overcook or sugar mixture will burn. The color of the toffee and the smoke a key indicator this is ready. Pour caramelized mixture onto the crushed almonds on the cookie sheet. Let caramel cool for a few minutes. Place unwrapped chocolate bars on hot caramelized spread and as chocolate melts spread to completely cover toffee. Once finished, spread remaining crushed almonds (if using) evenly over chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt. Cool toffee completely in refrigerator. Break into desired size toffee pieces and enjoy!

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